The Sevenfold Spell
by Tia Nevitt
97pp (E-book)
My Rating: 7/10
Amazon Rating: 5/5
LibraryThing Rating: 3.5/5
Goodreads Rating: 3.4/5

The Sevenfold Spell is a new novella by Tia Nevitt, who runs the wonderful Debuts & Reviews site. This Sleeping Beauty story is the first in a series of fairy tale retellings called Accidental Enchantments. The next book will be based on Cinderella, and there are plans for books based on Beauty and the Beast and Snow White as well. The Sevenfold Spell was published in e-book format and was just released this week.

This particular version of the Sleeping Beauty tale is based on the familiar myth but makes it into its own unique version. While it is the same basic story with the fairies and a princess destined to prick her finger on a spinning wheel, the princess is not the main focus. The Sevenfold Spell is told from the perspective of a commoner named Talia, who is of marriageable age at the beginning of the story. The princess Aurora was just cursed by the evil fairy, and all spinning wheels have been outlawed from the kingdom. Talia and her mother earn their living by spinning, and the consequences of the seizure of their spinning wheel are devastating. A good portion of Talia’s dowry goes toward a new loom so she and her mother can begin learning and practicing a new trade. As a result, she and her suitor Willard do not have enough money to begin a life together and Willard’s father sends him to a monastery. Over the course of several years, we see just how this affects the course of Talia’s life and how her story ties in with that of Princess Aurora.

The Sevenfold Spell is a fast, absorbing novella. It didn’t take long at all too engage me, and it only took about an hour and a half to two hours to read from start to finish. As someone who is a paper book fan, I was a little unsure about reading an e-book and I think it would have been hard for me if it hadn’t grabbed my attention pretty quickly or if it had been dense. Fortunately this was not the case and I quickly forgot I was reading on a screen (other than on a couple of occasions when I noticed how heavy the iPad gets).

The first half of the book was actually pretty racy, and I was a little surprised by the amount of sex and wondered at first when it would get to more about the fairy tale. It began with showing just how terrified people were to be losing their primary means of making money when the spinning wheels were banned, and the next part was a lot of sex scenes. Early in the story, I wasn’t quite sure how they related to the rest of the book, but by the time I was finished, I felt that it ended up shaping her character quite a bit. It made sense that she’d decide just to have some fun and forget about her reputation – her prospects for marriage were gone and she was probably feeling pretty hopeless at that point. Plus it did shape her character throughout the years, and it influenced some advice she gave to a certain prince later.

The second half of the book ended up dealing more with the fairy tale, and Princess Aurora and the prince take on larger roles. I especially enjoyed reading about the explanations for the details in this well-known story, such as why the fairies could not counteract the curse.

The Sevenfold Spell is still the Sleeping Beauty we are all familiar with but with a different perspective that sets it apart from being just another retelling of this fairy tale. It moves at a good pace and is entertaining – and a bit romantic.

My Rating: 7/10

Where I got my reading copy: The author sent me a copy.

Other Reviews:

Today I am pleased to welcome Tia Nevitt to celebrate the release of her novella The Sevenfold Spell, the first in a series of fairy tale retellings called Accidental Enchantments. Since Tia is normally only available to comment after business hours, she has been stopping by while in her pajamas, thus the name. For a schedule of all the tour stops, you can see the full list here on her book review site, Debuts & Reviews.

Wow. Today is it. The release date. Be kind to me, world! Thank you so much for having me, Kristen. To celebrate the release, I’d like to give away a copy of The Sevenfold Spell. To enter, either leave a comment, or email me at tia @ tianevitt . com (remove the spaces) and please mention that you saw this at The Fantasy Café.

For today’s post, I’d like to discuss the books that have touched me over the years. They are all works of fiction, listed (roughly) in the order in which I read them over the years. Most are fantasy or science fiction—but not all.

2001 by Arthur C. Clarke
This is the first speculative fiction novel I ever read. For a long time, it was the standard by which all others were judged. It had to be hard science fiction—no space opera for me! However, it also had to have wonder in it. And the Jupiter approach scene is just about the most wondrous scene I have ever read.

Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel
I learned a great deal about character development from this novel, which I read when I was in high school, and before I entertained any serious desire to become a writer. I have since reread it many times.

The Once and Future King by T. H. White
Simply put, this novel made writing look so fun that I just had to try it for myself.

Crystal Singer by Anne McCaffrey
My husband had this lying around and I picked it up out of boredom. It was my first space opera. It touched me because of the music. I loved reading about a musician who goes off and finds a lucrative and exclusive line of work because … she has perfect pitch. And because she had to pass a rigorous physical, mental and intellectual exam to get in. I so wanted to be a crystal singer.

Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
I loved this series because the authors did their damnedest to include wonder in every chapter. You just don’t get a shot of wonder like this when you read today’s gritty fantasies. If you disagree, I’d love for you to recommend some titles.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
I learned a great deal about point-of-view while I was reading it, as it alternates between omnipresent to third person as it goes from chapter to chapter. I also learned that you can take an unpleasant character and make them compelling.

Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
This book showed me that a novel can take on a serious subject and still make the reader howl with laughter.

Sentenced to Prism by Alan Dean Foster
I was blown away by this novel. Initially, I didn’t want to read it because I didn’t like the punny title. A friend convinced me to give it a try. It was totally not what I expected and when I name my favorite science fiction novels, this one always makes the list.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
This novel taught me the importance of bringing out a character through dialog. It also made me fall in love with romance again.

And to round out this list, a recent one:

The Sword-Edged Blonde by Alex Bledsoe
I just reread the review of this novel, and it made me wonder why I have not bought the second novel—I certainly intended to, and now I think I’ll get it for my nook. I loved Eddie LaCrosse, and while it was drenched in blood and gore, it had unexpected wonder, redemption and soul.

Ok, I have obeyed the blogger’s rule of THERE MUST BE TEN, so I’ll leave it at that.

Which novels would make your top-ten list, and why?

Thank you, Tia. That’s an intriguing list of books! I’m going to have to think about my top ten list; that’s a tough question to answer.

Here’s some more information on The Sevenfold Spell, which was released today as an e-book from Carina Press:

Have you ever wondered what happens to the other people in the fairy tale?

Things look grim for Talia and her mother. By royal proclamation, the constables and those annoying “good” fairies have taken away their livelihood by confiscating their spinning wheel. Something to do with a curse on the princess, they said.

Not every young lady has a fairy godmother rushing to her rescue.

Without the promise of an income from spinning, Talia’s prospects for marriage disappear, and she and her mother face destitution. Past caring about breaking an arbitrary and cruel law, rebellious Talia determines to build a new spinning wheel, the only one in the nation, which plays right into the evil fairy’s diabolical plan. Talia discovers that finding a happy ending requires sacrifice. But is it a sacrifice she’s willing to make?

Good luck to those entering to win a copy of The Sevenfold Spell! To enter, email Tia at the address she provided or leave a comment with your top 10 favorite books – we’d love to hear about which books you love the most and why!


There were no books to add to the leaning pile this week, but I just wanted to give a quick update on what is coming up.

Tomorrow Tia Nevitt will be here as part of her blog tour for the release of The Sevenfold Spell. She will also be giving away a copy of her book. I’ve read it and it’s a very enjoyable romantic fairy tale based on the story of Sleeping Beauty.

For reviews, I’m working on one for The Sevenfold Spell and one for Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs. My hope is to get both of them up this week, but as I already know it’s going to be a crazy week we’ll see how that goes.

I’ve read an unusually crazy number of books for me this month so even with writing 1 -2 reviews a week I’m behind. After that, reviews that still need to be written are:

  • Lady Lazarus by Michele Lang
  • Blameless by Gail Carriger
  • Of Darkness, Light and Fire by Tanya Huff (an omnibus containing two of Huff’s earlier novels – Gate of Darkness, Circle of Light and The Fire’s Stone)

Whew! It might be time to get out a longer book to give myself a chance to catch up.

For quite a while now, I’ve been thinking I’d like to try to get more book discussions going here. Sometimes in review comments there’s a little bit of discussion about books, but there’s a limit to those conversations since there’s the need to be cryptic or put up big spoiler warnings before talking about a book. So I’m going to try actually doing this and see how it goes, and if I don’t end up merely conversing with myself, I may put up these discussions more often.

I will always make it clear at the beginning of the post that this is a spoiler discussion so anybody who hasn’t read the books knows not to read any further (unless, of course, you don’t care about reading big, nasty spoilers). The initial post will be spoiler free – I will not post anything specific about the books other than in the comments.

For my inaugural discussion, I’ve decided to start with the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews for several reasons. First off, I discovered these books this year and love them! Also, I seem to keep talking about this books with people on Twitter, and 140 characters just doesn’t quite cut it for a conversation. Plus there is so much to talk about! Please note this discussion is intended for all four books so there could be spoilers for Magic Bites, Magic Burns, Magic Strikes and/or Magic Bleeds.

Feel free to write about anything related to the series – what you thought about the books, how you feel about any of the characters, what you think of the mythology, speculation on what will happen in the next book, anything at all!

Read the comments if you want to see my theory about who Roland is, and I would also love to hear other thoughts on the clues we’ve been given so far!

For those who missed it, here is a recent interview with Ilona Andrews. It might give us some more to talk about.

An Artificial Night
by Seanan McGuire
368pp (Paperback)
My Rating: 8/10
Amazon Rating: 4.5/5
LibraryThing Rating: 4.45/5
Goodreads Rating: 4.35/5

An Artificial Night is the third book in the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire, this year’s John W. Campbell Award winner for Best New Writer. The first two books in this urban fantasy series about faerie are Rosemary and Rue and A Local Habitation, respectively. There has been a very short wait in between books, and both the fourth and fifth books are scheduled for publication next year – Late Eclipses in March and The Brightest Fell in September, continuing the trend of beautifully worded titles taken from Shakespeare.  (Update: The title of the fifth book was changed later and it is now One Salt Sea instead of The Brightest Fell.)

Life is never dull for Toby Daye, a changeling private investigator who does work for the Faerie court. One moment she’s capturing Barghests who have taken over the feast hall of one of the Faerie nobility. The next morning her own personal Grim Reaper shows up at her front door, cheerful and eagerly awaiting Toby’s imminent death. As if that weren’t enough, Toby comes home from breakfast to a frantic call from her friend Stacy who needs her to come look into a situation. Two of Stacy’s children disappeared in the middle of the night, and one of her other children will not wake up.

It turns out other children are missing as well, including a human girl. Toby soon learns that this means Blind Michael is stealing children to become animals and riders for his Wild Hunt. With so many taken, including some who are dear to her, Toby cannot do anything other than try to retrieve the children – even if the appearance of death at her door means this does not bode well for her.

Each book in the October Daye series is better than the last, and this series has become one of my top three urban fantasies (right after the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews and the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs). The second book was a big improvement over the first one, and this latest installment was slightly better than the second one. The plot was tighter with a wonderfully creepy atmosphere in the realms of Blind Michael. It’s dark and there is not a vampire or werewolf to be found – it’s all about the fae.

One of the reasons this book seems stronger than the others may be that it’s not about solving a mystery – the cause of the disappearing children is discovered early in the story and most of the book was about how to rectify the situation. While I mostly love Toby as a character, I’m afraid I don’t actually believe in her as a private investigator. She seems to have issues grasping simple clues in each book, and her ability to solve cases seems to rely more on sheer luck than any actual skill. Perhaps good fortune is part of Toby’s changeling heritage that hasn’t been revealed yet since she did admit in the beginning of this novel that solving her latest case had nothing to do with her prowess as an investigator (plus, she does seem pretty lucky not to be dead by now as often as she’s nearly been so in these three books). When it came to figuring out who took the children, she also didn’t do a whole lot of problem solving but instead came to the conclusion by coincidence leading her to the person she needed to talk to. Admittedly, she’d had a rough morning with Mae, her own personal Fetch who looked like her and was just waiting to carry her off after she died, showing up at her door. Yet I can’t ignore this or think of it as a special case since she’s seemed equally dense at figuring out clues in the previous books.

In spite of the fact that I am hoping there is an explanation for Toby’s less than stellar investigative skills, I do enjoy reading about her. She’s funny with a rather amusing way of phrasing her narration, and she’s certainly not all powerful. Her tough but vulnerable attitude and willingness to dive into danger reminds me a lot of other urban fantasy heroines, but her voice in the second book went a long way toward making me like her. However, I did find myself thinking Toby’s voice was not as strong or full of personality in this installment as the previous one. After some thought, I don’t think that there was a big difference between the second and third book narration, but Toby’s voice no longer seemed as “Toby.” The last book I read by Seanan McGuire was Feed, a novel she wrote as Mira Grant, and I found myself thinking at times that Toby’s narrative style sounded very much like George, the narrator in Feed.

Most of the characters other than Toby are also very enjoyable to read about, both new and old. Luna’s past is explored, and it was fun to learn more about her origins. The rose goblin Spike was fleshed out a little more and even though he can’t speak to Toby, he has his own personality and endearing ways. Tybalt remains my favorite and even though there wasn’t as much of him in this novel as the second one, the parts that were here were very good. Part of his allure is just how mysterious he is so I don’t really mind if that is dragged out a little, especially considering we did get some setup hinting there may be more about him soon. There were also several references to Toby’s mother that made me quite curious about where that may be going. This part of the series is handled very well – even though each book stands on its own with a definite conclusion there are some tantalizing bits to anticipate in future installments.

My personal preference for fae is the darker the better, and I am beginning to wonder just how dark these fae are. Although there are certainly some who are on the creepy side such as this book’s villain Blind Michael, many of them seem to genuinely care about others. There are times they look out for themselves or do good if it benefits them, but I am beginning to wonder if some of the fae are further on the Tinkerbell side of the faery goodness spectrum than I’d initially thought. Since all the important characters are at least partially fae, the average reader may not be able to sympathize with them if they seemed too inhuman, though. It’s a difficult balance to maintain, and there is at least still plenty of blurriness when it comes to motive for many of them.

Although I do have one major issue with the series so far – the main character’s incompetence at her job – An Artificial Night is an entertaining read that kept me turning the pages. It’s dark and eerie with some delightful characters I’m looking forward to reading more about.

My Rating: 8/10

Where I got my reading copy: ARC from the publisher.

Reviews of other books in this series:

Other Reviews of An Artificial Night:

This week I got three books to add to the pile (well, I guess technically my husband got one but it’s in a series we both read so I’ll include it). Good thing I’ve actually been reading more books this month than the last few…

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

This is the first book in a young adult fantasy trilogy, The Seven Realms. I’ve wanted to read this ever since I read Thea’s review at The Book Smugglers but had never actually gotten a hold of a copy of it, so when I was contacted about receiving the first two books for review consideration my answer was an ecstatic “Yes!” It looks like a fun book. The first chapter is available on the author’s website.

Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for himself, his mother, and his sister Mari. Ironically, the only thing of value he has is something he can’t sell. For as long as Han can remember, he’s worn thick silver cuffs engraved with runes. They’re clearly magicked—as he grows, they grow, and he’s never been able to get them off.

Han’s life gets even harder after he takes a powerful amulet from the son of the High Wizard. The amulet once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece so powerful at stake, the Bayars will stop at nothing to reclaim it from Han.

Meanwhile, Raisa ana’Marianna, Princess Heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. Although Raisa will become eligible for marriage after her sixteenth name-day, she isn’t looking forward to trading in her common sense for a prince with a big castle and tiny brain. Raisa aspires to be like Hanalea—the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But it seems like her mother has other plans for her—plans that include a suitor who goes against everything the Queendom stands for.

The Seven Realms will tremble when the lives of Han and Raisa collide in this stunning new page-turner from best-selling author Cinda Williams Chima.

The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

The middle book in The Seven Realms trilogy will be released on September 28. Chapter Two is available to read on the author’s website.

You can’t always run from danger…
Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, Han Alister journeys south to begin his schooling at Mystwerk House in Oden’s Ford. But leaving the Fells doesn’t mean danger isn’t far behind. Han is hunted every step of the way by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet Han stole from them. And Mystwerk House has dangers of its own. There, Han meets Crow, a mysterious wizard who agrees to tutor Han in the darker parts of sorcery—but the bargain they make is one Han may regret.

Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna runs from a forced marriage in the Fells, accompanied by her friend Amon and his triple of cadets. Now, the safest place for Raisa is Wein House, the military academy at Oden’s Ford. If Raisa can pass as a regular student, Wein House will offer both sanctuary and the education Raisa needs to succeed as the next Gray Wolf queen.

The Exiled Queen is an epic tale of uncertain friendships, cut-throat politics, and the irresistible power of attraction.

Miles In Love by Lois McMaster Bujold

This was the last set of Miles books I didn’t own (at least until CryoBurn comes out next month). I still need to read Memory before getting to this one, but my husband recently picked up the next book he had to read in the series and started going through the rest (and has now finished them all, including this one and the one after it). This omnibus edition contains the novels Komarr and A Civil Campaign and the novella “Winterfair Gifts.”

Two complete novels and a short novel in one large volume:

Komarr—Miles Vorkosigan is sent to Komarr, a planet that could be a garden with a thousand more years of terraforming; or an uninhabitable wasteland, if the terraforming project fails. The solar mirror vital to the project has been shatteredby a ship hurtling off course, and Miles Vorkosigan has been sent to find out if it was an accident, or sabotage. Miles uncovers a plot that could exile him from Barrayar forever—and discovers an unexpected ally, one with wounds as deep and honor as beleaguered as his own.

A Civil Campaign—On Komarr, Miles met the beautiful Vor widow Ekaterin Vorsoisson, who has no intention of getting married after the heartbreak and betrayal of her first experience. But Miles has a cunning plan to change her mind. Unfortunately his clone-brother Mark and his cousin Ivan have cunning plans of their own, and the three-way collision of cunning plans threatens to undo Miles’s brilliant romantic strategy.

“Winterfair Gifts”—Miles and Ekaterin make elaborate preparations for their wedding. But Miles has an enemy who is plotting to turn the romantic ceremony into a festival of death.